Dutch artist Leon Keer’s anamorphic paintings hung in the Brand Library last year for NEXUS III, and are currently on view for our inaugural exhibition Aloha, Mr.Hand. Keer comments on society, cultural issues, and the environment by creating narratives with familiar objects that force us to re-examine how we interpret the world around us. Below is our interview with Keer discussing the inspiration behind his most recent pieces with us, getting into a creative flow, and Funky Fridays.
What was the inspiration behind the body of work that will be showing at the Brand Library & Art Center?
The freedom of speech is the most important right in our constitution, the way demonstraters are being chased and hammered down in many countries is an annoyance for me. Also, I find the abuse of power a tricky issue. You see it on the street on a small scale. You see it on large scale in political decisions, both in developed and underdeveloped countries. I am not a speaker, but I feel inspired to make a visual story about the abuse of power. When a certain group of people is demonized, I denounce the situation.
Do you have any pre-studio rituals that help you get into a creative flow?
I mostly travel by bike to the studio. Takes me half an hour in where I soak in all the energy around me. That’s what I also do when I am abroad. I scout the neighborhood to find the energy for the next work
When you were working on this body of work, what were you listening to in the background? Do you have a different soundtrack for the various stages of the creative process?
There is a variety of music I listen to. The broadcasting station I listen to has a variety of music, games and interviews. I like this variety as I get bored very fast if I listen to too much of the same music.
One program on that radio station that I like most is ‘funky friday’ which will bring you to the smooth funky music of the early 90 ties.
Is there an artist or piece of work that has made a significant impact on you? Has that work influenced your own artistic voice/style?
I really love the work of Leandro Erlich. The grandness of his work and the way he is putting the spectators to another dimension of reality.I love the work of Leandro Erlich. The grandness of his work and the way he is putting the spectators to another dimension of reality are very inspiring
What piece challenged you most in this body of work, and why?
The piece Withered Bauhinia was most challenging to make. The background tells the story that many Hong Kong people took to the streets to protest against the ruling power for the sake of democracy. People are left with the choice of either staying home and keeping their opinions to themselves, or attending an unauthorized protest and risking police violence, judgment, and imprisonment. To underline this thought of oppression makes me humble towards these protesters and obliges me to approach the situation with honor and respect.
What do you think will be said about the New Contemporary Art Movement in 100 years?
An era of reflections of the people’s voice.
Schedule a visit to see Leon Keer’s work and the other talented artists in “Aloha, Mr. Hand” here. Masks required!